Sunday, April 19, 2009

Get out my life, why don't you babe

Seriously, the Conservatarian Right doesn't even seem to try anymore. Witness über-macho-mensch Mark Steyn ramble on incoherently:
But in America tea is not a soothing beverage to be served with McVitie's Digestive Biscuits. It's a raging stimulant. It's rabies in an Earl Grey bag. At America's tea parties, there's no McVitie's, just McVeighs – as in Timothy of that ilk, as in angry white men twitching to go nuts. To Paul Krugman of The New York Times, the tea party is a movement of "crazy people" manipulated by sinister "right-wing billionaires." To the briefly famous Susan Roesgen of CNN, the parties are not safe for "family viewing." Which is presumably why the Boston Globe forbore to cover them last week.

The Boston Globe, like all newspapers, is facing hard time. For them to then cover news is, well, wrong. And if you actually listened to many of the misguided folks at the Tea Party rallies, Timothy McVeigh's spirit wasn't so far away.
But I digress. Asked about the tea parties, President Barack Obama responded that he was not aware of them. As Marie Antoinette said, "Let them drink Lapsang Souchong." His Imperial Majesty at Barackingham Palace having declined to acknowledge the tea parties, his courtiers at the Globe and elsewhere fell into line.

If this is supposed to pass for snark, it's really pretty weak. And I wouldn't have wanted even GWBush to waste time on misguided people who whine about raising taxes when that isn't actually happening. Reality deserves discussion, fantasy not so much.
Taxes are a liberty issue. I don't want a $400 'credit' for agreeing to live my life in government-approved ways." Had he been of a more literary bent, he might have adapted Sir Thomas More's line from "A Man For All Seasons": "Why, Susan, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for a $400 tax credit?"

Taxes are a liberty issue. What silliness. Especially considering the Right's and Steyn's cheerleading during the 'liberty' rollbacks of the last 8 years. Illegal wiretaps, detention and torture? Extreme rendition? Goldwater's famous line comes to mind:
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
Problem is, even self-styled Goldwater Libertarians forget the next sentence:
"And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Pursued much justice the last 8 years, Mark? Yeah, I though so. But here's the crux of the piece:
A tax code that put my interests over any special interests would read: "How much did you earn last year? [Insert number here]thousand dollars? Hey, feel free to keep it. You know your interests better than we do!"

OK, to be less absolutist about it, my interests include finding a road at the end of my drive every morning, and modern equipment for the (volunteer) fire department and a functioning military to deter the many predators out there, and maybe one or two other things.

Roads, military, and a volunteer fire department. Really. We had a small brush fire outside our house a couple of years ago. We called the LAFD, using 911. They have guys sitting in firehouses 24/7 waiting for such calls. We didn't have to call the guy who is VFD Captain this week and hope he was home, not out having margaritas. Mark, I hope you never have to find out how inneffectual a VFD would be today. In the 18th century Boston you write about, maybe.

But today, who pays for:
  • Fire trucks
  • Installation of hydrants in neighborhoods
  • Turn-out coats
  • Insurance for injured firefighters
  • etc.
This Randian "I've got mine, fuck you" mentality is really kinda cute, were it no so infuriatingly stupid. When granddaughter Isabella says "I go potty now", well, she can almost handle it, with some help from Mama & Daddy. But when a Libertarian cavalierly says "I can handle it", while making full use of the infrastructure, the commons that taxes pay for, they clearly they can't handle it. When you write such silly articles, do you use the internet created by government research? When you fly, do you depend on government trained and supported Air Traffic Controllers? Although that may soon change as Reagan's tough-guy firing finally comes home to roost.

I was struck by the Teabaggers Wednesday taking full advantage of the parks in their communities. How do they think those are created? Mr. Potter didn't fund them out of the goodness of his movie fantasy heart.

And finally, Mark, you never addressed the stunning hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement. When my friend Sinfonian got hold of the mic at a rally in Pensacola, FL, he asked the folks:
And so here we are today, here we are today in a situation ... let me ask you this: Cheer if you make less than 250,000 dollars a year. Just cheer. (Crowd cheers) Your taxes are going to be cut under the current budget. Congratulations!

And they still didn't get it. Their taxes are going DOWN. So why complain now? Is it because the new President doesn't look like many of them? Is it because Fox News fanned these flames as high as they could? Is it because people are uninformed, ignorant, and biased against common sense and their own best interest?

We report, you decide.

Here's Sinfonian:

And here's the real Mark Stein singing "You Keep Me Hanging On":